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30 January 2024

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2 fishing vessels, a Sri Lankan and an Iranian one are reported to have been freed following hijackings by Somali pirates. Seychelles forces rescued a Sri Lankan fishing boat on Monday, according to President Wavel Ramkalawan’s office. Meanwhile, the Indian Navy said it had freed an Iranian-flagged fishing vessel.

The attacks on the vessels by armed Somali pirates, according to the Seychelles statement, raise further concerns over security in the region’s waters. Amid the war in Gaza, Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have waged a campaign targeting ships in the Red Sea.

“Seychelles special military forces boarded the boat with utmost courage to take complete control of the vessel and rescue our Sri Lankan brothers,” the presidency said in the statement.

Sri Lanka had earlier reported that diplomats were talking with Somali authorities trying to ascertain the whereabouts of a fishing vessel and its six crew members. The hijacking of the Sri Lankan vessel occurred in international waters about 840 nautical miles east of Somalia, 1,100 nautical miles from Sri Lanka and north of Seychelles, Sri Lankan Navy spokesman Captain Gayan Wickramasuriya said.

The apparent abduction had come two weeks after Sri Lanka said it would join the US-led operation to protect merchant vessels sailing in the Red Sea against the Houthi attacks.

Meanwhile, the Indian Navy announced that it had freed an Iranian (IRN) fishing vessel IMAN hijacked off the coast of Somalia. The fishing vessel had been boarded by pirates and the crew taken as hostages,” Indian Navy spokesman Commander Vivek Madhwal said.

Timeline image supplied by Indian Navy

 

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